Dalziel 'grumpy' over meagre red-zone offer

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 23/03/2012

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A spat has erupted after Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee suggested his Labour counterpart was "grumpy" she was not getting more taxpayer money for her red-zoned Christchurch property.

During question time in the House yesterday, Labour's earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel quizzed Brownlee about whether he shared the Prime Minister's concerns that some residents would be out of pocket by more than $150,000 via the Government buyout offers. She also asked what steps he had taken to ensure they were treated fairly by insurers.

Brownlee raised a point of order, saying he was "deeply troubled" by the question raised by Dalziel, whose Bexley home was red-zoned last year, because she had a "personal concern about how much she was being paid". "In [Dalziel's] case, we know the difficulty. She is being offered $87,200 for her land; she wants $200,000. She made that clear at the local government and environment committee but it is not easy just to put a hand in the taxpayers' pocket and pay it out to members of Parliament who are grumpy about the money being offered to them," he said.

Dalziel said it was "no secret" she had been affected by the residential red zone decision.

"That decision has placed in me in a personally difficult position but I do not believe that it is a conflict of interest for me to raise questions in the House, because I am not the only person who is affected in the way that I have been affected," she said.

Brownlee said more than 3000 people had accepted a Government offer. Many of those were in a "far better position than they would have been in normal circumstances", he said. "There will be variations – that is clear. When you are dealing with 7000 damaged properties and the Government is making an offer that allows people to make some choices, then I think that is fair."

An announcement of further rezoning of residential land in Christchurch will be made today.

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- The Press

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